When Bon Scott First Met AC/DC

vince lovegrove on stage
[Vince Lovegrove on stage]

The following story, lovingly told, is, according to its author, Vince Lovegrove, “the truth, the real story of how Bon Scott met AC/DC for the first time.” Indeed, it seems to move carefully and systematically through the significant moments of Bon’s life. Vince, who first played together with Bon in the 1960s in Perth, in a band called The Valentines, was never far away from the major events in Bon’s career. So it makes sense to get the story from the horse’s mouth.

Vince first posted this story to the myspace page of his current band, the Mongrels of Passion. I emailed him to ask if I could reprint the story here. Continue reading “When Bon Scott First Met AC/DC”

hero ick, icon ick

The following email, entitled “hero ick, icon ick” came through from my friend Anne today:

hows this. not a word for months and then a deluge. no, but it’s interesting, this next blog you’ll be doing. half an hour ago i was googling heath ledger who’s apparently just overdosed in his manhattan digs. can’t say i’ve ever paid much attention to the bloke, but i enjoyed ‘brokeback mountain’ and ‘i’m not there’. anyways, seems there are a lot of fanclub sites out there for heath, as well. and no doubt for a lot of other stars, alive and dead (another one that comes to mind, coz i’ve just seen the fillem ‘control’ is ian curtis of joy division).

so i was just having a little lie down after getting your email and thought about how we are surely the only species that does this – elevates certain individuals to such lofty heights. i mean, this is definitely not in the order of something as pragmatic as queen ant-ism. we just love mythical figures. or need them, more like. i wonder if it’s a religious urge. icon-ism. especially since pictures and other forms of representation figure so much in the process of elevation and mythologising. bio’s too of course. and when it’s singers, it’s their music and their lyrics combined with their personal narratives. so i dunno. maybe i’m on the wrong track here. maybe it’s about poetry and poets and philosophers, in a new package for popular culture. what do you think it’s about lucas? hmmm … i guess you’ll find out, maybe, by doing this blog. wish i could drive across the desert with you.

Hearing the news, I too had a moment of sadness for poor Heath. He was 28. Bon was young too, only 33 when he died. (They also both grew up in Western Australia.) I guess as the breaking news came through about Heath’s death, it made me realise, to a very small degree, what it might have been like for an AC/DC fan to hear the news of Bon’s death, back in Feburary 1980. A sense of lost potential. The idea that he was only just beginning to hit his stride. That his best work was still in front of him. And so on.

Like Anne, I have been wondering about the transformation of a single human into a “cultural icon” – and the similarity of this phenomenon to religion. If someone is dead, we can make him into whoever we want. And no matter how unheroic the circumstances of Bon’s death (“death by misadventure due to acute alcohol poisoning” or something like that) there is a sense in which he is a kind of “martyr”.

Beginning the Bon Scott Blog

I’m starting a new project. It’s all about Bon Scott, the singer from AC/DC. He died in 1980. During the first half of this year there will be a Bon Scott Project in Fremantle, Western Australia. That’s where he spent much of his childhood, and that’s where he’s buried. Apparently his is the most visited grave in the Freo cemetary. A bunch of fans have gotten together to raise the money to have a bronze statue of Bon made up. The statue will be unveiled on February 24th at a memorial concert. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, rumour has it that not all his fans think a bronze statue is the best way to memorialise their hero.*)

I have been commissioned by the Fremantle Arts Centre to write a blog about all of this. I’ll be travelling to WA in February for the statue unveiling and concert, and again in April/May when there will be further festivities and an exhibition by visual artists responding to Bon’s life and work. My mission, hazy as it is right now, is to interact with “the fans”, whoever they might be.

I’ve been asked to do this project based on my previous blogging projects, Bilateral Kellerberrin, and The Sham. In those projects, I spent an extended period of time blogging about a small country town in WA, and my own home suburb in Sydney. In this new project, I will need to get my head around a different kind of “site” – no longer geographically specific, but a site which revolves around a community of people who are dispersed throughout the world, and who hold in common their enthusiasm for Bon Scott.

I have to disclose from the beginning: I am not a fan. I certainly don’t dislike the music of AC/DC, but it’s just never crossed my horizon in any significant way, and I’ve never gone out of my way to listen to it. The earlier work of Bon Scott, before he joined AC/DC – well, I know nothing about it at all. So the Bon Scott Blog will certainly be, at least at the beginning, my autobiographical account of “coming to know Bon Scott”. I hope that some of the fans will take me under their wing and show me the “Tao of Bon”.

My first task is to get to Fremantle for the concert and statue unveiling on the 24th of February. I’m looking for an ardent fan as a travelling companion to drive with me across the nullabor from Sydney to Perth. The candidate would need to have a working car with a good stereo, and maybe some camping gear. I will pay for the petrol. Please contact me at shortleftleg[at]yahoo[dot]com to register your interest. (I guess we’d need to leave at least 5 days in advance…)

*but I can’t remember where I heard this rumour. Searching around the net, looking at the enthusiastic sites maintained by fanclubs, I haven’t seen anything critical of the idea yet. Maybe I just dreamed it.